Marist Receives NSF Grant to Revitalize Education in Enterprise Computing
Marist has received a $400,000 two-year grant from the National Science Foundation to build an academic and industry community that will revitalize undergraduate education in enterprise computing. The community's goal is to develop a new curriculum that will reshape undergraduate information technology, information systems, and computer science programs to prepare the next generation of enterprise computing specialists.
"Enterprise-level servers around the world process 80 billion transactions a day, and that number is expected to double by 2010," says Dr. Roger Norton, dean of the School of Computer Science and Mathematics at Marist and the principal investigator in charge of the project. Enterprise-level applications are used to issue Social Security checks, track credit card purchases, and oversee the U.S. air-traffic network. The CIA, the military, and state governments use the applications for their reliability, efficiency, and high level of security. However, studies show that the skilled workers needed to support these systems are retiring at a rapid rate and most information technology and computer science undergraduate majors currently are not exposed to large-scale computing environments.
"While the demand for large-system skills is pressing, the common perception is that employment opportunities in large systems and in computer professions overall are declining, leading to lagging interest by students and faculty, exacerbating the national problem," says Norton.
Partners in the initiative include Illinois State University, North Carolina Central University, the University of Arkansas, Widener University, Monroe College, San Jose State University, Stevens Institute of Technology, the State University of New York at Binghamton, Aetna, Bank of America, BMC Software, Citigroup, Computer Associates, IBM Corp., Morgan Stanley, Progressive Insurance, Travelers Insurance, and Verizon. Marist has established an online gathering place for the community. All schools have remote access to the IBM enterprise system environment "Knowledge Center" at Marist, which eliminates the need to have large servers on their own campuses and allow them to offer the curricula to their students at low cost.
The College hosted a national conference on the subject June 21 to 23 that had more than 150 participants from around the world. For more information on the initiative, visit http://ecc.marist.edu.
Marist also received a $551,970 NSF grant to establish a Computer Science and Information Technology and Systems (CS/ITS) Cohort Scholarship Program to increase the number of students in the CS/ITS undergraduate majors.